Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Poor Cowen

I watched the second part of the TV3 documentary on The Rise and Fall of Fianna Fail. I'm a sucker for punishment. I've ranted enough about the show already and this episode didn't do much to change my opinion that this is just a fluff piece.

This episode focused on the collapse of the economy. While McCreevy and Ahern did get an amount of coverage most of the blame seemed to fall on Cowen. We all know he was out of his depth and couldn't cope with the economic collapse, we didn't need Bertie to tell us that. I would have hoped TV3 would take more than just a purely chronological view of who was to blame. Cowen inherited the job from Bertie who resigned just before the crash but long after the country had been locked on its course.

You can blame Cowen for how the economic collapse was handled but blaming him for the disaster as a whole is a bit like giving most of the blame for the Titanic sinking to the guy lowering the lifeboats. Sure many people died because lifeboats were half empty but they wouldn't have needed the lifeboats if the captain hadn't sent them full speed ahead into an ice flow. Same here. Cowen and Lenihan made the economic collapse worse with their handling of the crisis and their blanket bank guarantee was the death blow to the economy but it was the Ahern governments that let the banks get to a point where they had to go to the Minister on the night of 29th of September 2008 to seek the guarantee. As the show went on and they heaped more blame on him I actually began to feel sorry for Cowen. Blame the man for what he did but don't make him carry all the blame for what those before him did as well.

While TV3 did mention McCreevys give away budgets they tried to absolve him from his sins by saying when he tried to change things he was sent packing to Europe. The majority of the time on Ahern was given over to coverage of his time in tribunals. 2/3rds of the show were then given over to Cowen. Seeing Ahern being interviewed and commenting on how the shambles he created was managed after him left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The man clearly either believes his own fantasy of a country in great shape when he left or he thinks if he repeats it enough time on the media then the public will begin to believe it.

With one episode to go the space is still there for another station such as RTE to do the definitive documentary on Fianna Fail.

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